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You don't need to step into the ring to forge the lean, muscular frame of a professional boxer or MMA fighter. Build the body of a fighter with this 12-workout program you can do in one month. Fight Shorts: While you can wear regular athletic shorts in MMA, it’s ideal to wear fight shorts. These are specially designed for fighting, and are much more conducive to fighting as the allow for enhanced mobility when fighting.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) sometimes referred to as cage fighting, is a full-contact combat sport based on striking, grappling and ground fighting, incorporating techniques from various combat sports and martial arts from around the world. The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC. The combined fight time in total for the five fights was 23 minutes and 22 seconds! UFC 142 had one of the shortest total fight times for a main event in UFC history, with a total time of 23 minutes and 22 seconds.
Not everyone is cashing those Kimbo-size checks.
Myles Jury is a damn fine fighter. Real money bag. He went on a 6-0 run in the UFC before taking his first career loss to Cowboy Cerrone on January 3rd, 2015. He’s beaten an assortment of quality opponents including Takanori Gomi, Diego Sanchez, Michael Johnson and Mike Ricci.
Even with a 15-1 record and being ranked top 10 in his division, it’s not easy to make a buck in the UFC.
Myles Jury recently broke down the typical expenses for an MMA fighter and put it into perspective with what a fighter gets paid. For guys who are on a 10/10 contract (They get paid a guaranteed $10000 for showing up, and another $10000 if they win), they’re almost definitely forced to pay for the privilege of fighting in the world’s premiere MMA organization, and MIGHT break even when it’s all said and done.
If you don’t think that it’s kind of messed up that professional athletes in a premiere organization are paying out of pocket to compete, just imagine if you had to write your boss a bigger check than he writes you and you’ll start to understand.
Here’s a breakdown of what fighters are paid, and how much they have to pay to participate:
These figures are based on a fighter earning 10k to show, and 10k to win.
Gym Fees: 5-10% of purse, per fight camp.
- At 10%, that’s 2k with a win and 1k with a loss.
Management Fees: Industry standard is 20%.
- That’s 4k with a win, 2k with a loss.
Taxes: UFC fighters are sub-contractors so they’re responsible for making sure they have enough left over for the tax man. 30% is a good rule of thumb.
- That’s 6k with a win, 3k with a loss.
Medicals: Fighters need to pay for their own medical tests in order to get licensed by each commission. According to Jury, it’s typically $500-$1000.
- We’ll call it an even $500 to be conservative.
Coaching Fees: Basic coaching is included in gym fees, but many fighters need to bring in specialists from around the world and it can really add up. Jury says private training is anywhere from $50-$150 per hour. Let’s use an 8 week fight camp for our example, with 2 hours a day of private coaching at a reasonable $75/hr.
- That’s a whopping $8400, but it’s mainly top-tier fighters who can afford such luxuries. Jury went with $1000 for his calculations, so we’ll do the same.
Misc: There are a lot of other costs, including travel expenses for coaches, supplements, flying in training partners, nutritionists, clean eating, sports massages and chiros, etc. Jury says this is roughly $1000-$2000 on the low end.
- Let’s call it a very conservative $1000.
Want to see how that all totals up?
How Long Is An Mma Fight
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How Long Is The Mma Fight Tonight
Ask any MMA fighter, and they’ll tell you that most of the time, the preparation going into a fight, or fight camp, is tougher than the fight itself. Fight camp is both mentally and physically demanding, pushing the most conditioned athletes in the world to their limits just so they can prove their mettle in the cage. In fact, fight camp can be so grueling that some fighters get injured and end up pulling out of the fight. There are also some instances when fighters fail to make weight, throwing all their hard work away.
Although there’s no doubt that many fighters have put in the hard work and dedication to their training, without proper guidance from a coach, there are far too many things that could go wrong. Thus, it is imperative that a fighter wanting to test him/herself in the highest levels of competition should have a training camp based on the specific strategies devised by his/her coach. This training camp should be tailor-made by taking a fighter’s weaknesses and strengths into consideration against his opponent’s own strengths and weaknesses.
Typically, a fight camp lasts around 8 to 10 weeks. The goals of a fight camp are dependent on an athlete’s physical condition. It prepares the fighter through intense training, weight management and strategy for the fight. On the final week of fight camp, a fighter usually is at the peak of his/her conditioning as he/she makes weight. 10 days before the fight, the intensity starts to taper off. Training sessions are reduced to once a day to let the fighter’s body recover and for him/her to feel refreshed mentally.
The Goals Of A Successful Fight Camp
Reduce body fat/ get weight manageable
A well-prepared MMA fighter will maintain a healthy diet, even off-season. This ensures that he wouldn’t have to cut a drastic amount of weight come fight night and maintain the weight required for his/her weight class. A fighter eats to fuel his workouts, meals high in protein, green leafy vegetables, and good carbohydrates. His whole diet revolves around sustaining himself during the most intense training sessions and gets even stricter as fight week approaches.
For more information about cutting weight for MMA, check out our article.
Increase and peak your conditioning
A fight in the cage could last as short as 30 seconds and as long as 25 minutes, thus, a fighter’s conditioning is of utmost importance. They must be durable enough to last in the cage, fighting through exhaustion, blood, sweat, and tears. Thus, in fight camp, a coach guides a fighter on how to condition his/her body for a fight. From lasting through long periods of high-intensity fighting to repetitions of techniques to make them second nature, these are just some of the ways a fighter must condition his body.
Remaining injury free
It’s a common story in the sport of MMA – a fighter over-trains or goes through many intense sparring sessions during fight camp and gets injured. A study shows that over 179 fighters scheduled for 5+ UFC fights between 2009-2016 from some of the biggest fight camps training had to pull out due to an injury. A successful fight camp ensures that a fighter remains injury free and in top physical condition on the week before his/her fight.
In a fight camp, coaches will apply a variety of methods to repair the fighters’ bodies after those brutal training sessions – ice baths, recovery shakes, or even visits to massage therapists or cupping/acupuncture. The fighter’s meal plan is imperative for proper recovery as well – each meal has to have enough protein and carbohydrates to give the fighter energy and repair the muscles he/she will need to use for the next training session.
Whether a fighter is a BJJ black belt, a Muay Thai World Champion or Division 1 Wrestler, he/she will always have signature techniques that have helped him/her get to where he/she is today. Thus, sharpening these techniques will help make it easier for the fighter to utilize them in the cage. Coaches will often make fighters do hundreds of repetitions of techniques during drilling sessions and will watch them closely to help them perfect the technique and modify it for the cage.
Practice and perfect game plan
Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Petchboonchu FA Group is also known as “The Deadly Knee Of The Mekong”.
During fight camp, a coach and a fighter will work together to formulate a game plan. This game plan will take a fighter’s strengths and weaknesses into consideration as well as his opponent’s. From these, the coach will devise a strategy that will give the fighter the best odds to win the fight, should he/she execute the game plan properly.
The sport of MMA is truly not for the faint of heart. Fighters must be ready to be tested mentally and physically while subjecting themselves to the pounding fists, lethal kicks and deadly submissions from their opponents. But having one’s fist raised at the end of the match – it certainly makes all the broken bones, torn ligaments worth it.